The Gold award in the HVAC Residential Controls category goes to the ADC-T40K-HD Smart Thermostat HD by Building36. The Smart Thermostat HD is a near-universal 24 V smart thermostat that can wirelessly communicate with HVAC systems and control air quality products and accessories.
The Smart Thermostat HD was designed to help busy HVAC contractors overcome common smart thermostat installation issues so they can get to the next job faster.
“As equipment gets more and more complicated you start adding more peripherals you need … and the complexity of installing these controls gets exponentially more difficult,” said Dan Goodman, president and founder of Building36. “So we said, ‘How can we offload some of that for them and leverage our technology in a way that makes things far more simple for the contractor?’”
The installation of the Smart Thermostat HD is made easy with its on-screen setup wizard and automatic wire detection and configuration. In addition, its flexible two-part design provides a labor-saving solution when there is either no C-wire or not enough wires available. Rather than pull a new wire or add one, the touchscreen display of the Smart Thermostat HD can be mounted in the living area and the thermostat unit separately installed near the HVAC equipment — and wireless communication does the rest. During the Display Synch installations, the Touchscreen Display and Thermostat units automatically pair and communicate wirelessly. When the system needs to be replaced, it notifies both contractor and customer to let them know that a new heating or cooling system is needed. The product not only simplifies smart thermostat installation, but also establishes and maintains a long-term relationship with the homeowner.
“This is part of a larger connected home offering in that it's not just a thermostat that we actually tie in, we've also got a cellular based solution. So you don't have to worry about anybody's Wi-Fi. But it can also tie in the rest of the smart home. So not only do we monitor furnaces and air conditioners, we can monitor water heaters, sump pumps, condensate pans, and give customers the kind of the ‘fun’ and ‘wow’ factor of controlling everything from a branded app for the contractor,” Goodman said.
Stephen Birch, general manager at Aiello Home Services, has used every version of the Building36 Thermostats.
“This HD one is the best of the bunch. It’s sleek, easy to install, very user-friendly … and it gives us proactive updates, so we can monitor what’s going on and react quicker than sometimes even the homeowner,” said Birch.
The product is simplified for technicians, as it can control ERV/HRVs as well as humidifiers and dehumidifiers so there is no need to wire in multiple controls; it’s all part of the initial install. It also gives contractors the ability to adjust the settings of the smart thermostat remotely.
“It’s unique how it’s almost self-installing. All we have to do it touch it and attach it to the wall and it pretty much configures itself,” said Birch. “But the proactive measures, the information, is probably one of the neatest features. When you have the systems in place to be able to monitor and maintain the information that it’s sending, you can proactively solve a lot of problems.”
The product can be used on just about any manufacturer’s system.
The Silver award in the HVAC Residential Controls category goes to the Bliss Invis-A-Stat Light Switch and Thermostat (LST) from ZONEFIRST.
The Bliss Invis-A-Stat combines lighting, temperature, and humidity control all in one device that can replace any standard light switch and eliminates the need for having a separate thermostat. With Bliss, customers have the ability to place a thermostat wherever there is an existing light switch, allowing for a thermostat in each room or each zone. The device makes zoning simpler, installation easier, and monitoring the system more convenient.
The product is approximately the size of a common dimmer and fits inside a standard 2x4 junction box. It features a small flat touch screen for a smooth appearance on a wall, a light build icon to turn the light on and off, and an easy-to-see screen that customers simply touch to control mode and temperature. Customers no longer need a thermostat hanging on their wall — with the Bliss Invis-A-Stat, the thermostat is built right into the light switch.
It also makes moving the thermostat easier, as all customers need to do is move the product to whichever light switch they please. With the Bliss Invis-A-Stat, the need for running separate wires to a thermostat is eliminated. All customers have to do is find a room with a light switch, replace the light switch with the Bliss Invis-A-Stat, and connect to the thermostat via the app. Once installed, the app provides continual real-time system monitoring.
The Bronze award in the HVAC Residential Controls category goes to the Wireless Relay Plus by iO HVAC Controls.
The iO-WRP is a transceiver system that communicates wirelessly up to a quarter-mile between two devices via a 915MHz radio frequency. Its primary function is to provide multiple wireless signals between two devices such as HVAC indoor and outdoor units. It offers a solution to communicating wirelessly between two devices when conventional wiring cannot be run or is too costly.
Its features include digital inputs compatible with 24VAC HVAC systems, output switch through onboard relays, bi-color LED used to indicate its operational state, and transceiver and factory pairing.
The iO-WRP is typically used in HVAC applications where there is a broken wire that can’t be accessed, or an additional wire is required. Since the devices are transceivers, they are ideally suited for heat pump applications but can be used in numerous applications where wireless communication is required between two devices.
The product is designed for easy installation, and since both transceivers come from the factory already paired, the need for re-pairing is highly unlikely.